PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays acquired closer Brad Hand from Washington on Thursday, getting some bullpen help from a skidding Nationals team that has turned into a trade-deadline seller.
The 31-year-old Hand is 5-5 with a 3.59 ERA and 21 saves in 26 opportunities for the Nationals, who entered Thursday’s doubleheader at Philadelphia eight games under .500 and in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined four players. Washington is 6-16 in July.
The Blue Jays sent catcher Riley Adams to Washington.
Toronto entered Thursday at 50-48, good for fourth place in the tough AL East, but the Blue Jays are 4 1/2 games back of the second AL wild card as they prepare to begin their first true homestand of the season on Friday. Toronto had played home games in Dunedin, Florida, and Buffalo, New York, this season because of pandemic-related travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada.
Hand signed a one-year, $10.5 million contract with Washington in the offseason. Before that, he spent parts of three seasons with Cleveland, where he had 58 saves. The 11-year veteran has also pitched in the majors for Miami and San Diego.
The 25-year-old Adams hit .239 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 35 games or Triple-A Buffalo. He has appeared in 12 games this season for Toronto, batting .107.
The Nationals have reportedly been in trade talks involving several players, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. Scherzer started the opener of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Phillies, an unusual move for a player who is likely to be traded.
“I told him to do whatever he does best, which is compete and not to worry about anything,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He’s going to go and pitch. He wants to go pitch and compete.”
Washington recalled outfielder Yadiel Hernandez from Triple-A Rochester to fill the vacant roster spot.
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Kevin Cooney, The Associated Press